Architecture of Herod, the Great Builder

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"Netzer's expertise and firsthand knowledge makes the book a goldmine of information within a concise and readable package. . . . I highly commend this book to students and scholars of Early Roman archaeology, of historical architecture, and of Second Temple Judaism."--David W. Chapman, Review of Biblical Literature
Herod the Great, one of the most famous builders of the biblical world, is a name well known to readers of the New Testament. Recently a team led by Ehud Netzer, a leading Israeli archaeologist of the Herodian period, discovered the tomb of Herod in one of his palaces. This volume highlights Herod's personal involvement with and contributions to his building projects, which benefited from his analytical mind, creative imagination, and deep understanding of the building and planning process. In many ways, the book presents the first comprehensive synthesis of Herod's enterprises from architectural and archaeological viewpoints. Originally published in hardcover by Mohr Siebeck, it is now available in paper.

The Author

  1. Ehud Netzer

    Ehud Netzer

    Ehud Netzer (1934-2010) was professor emeritus at the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He initiated and directed excavations at several building projects of Herod the Great and authored the award-winning Masada, volume...

    Continue reading about Ehud Netzer


"[Netzer] brings a strong architectural background . . . and intensive archaeological experience . . . to his analysis of Herod's buildings. . . . No one knows Herod's buildings as well as Netzer; he distills what he knows about him in this readable book. He neither talks down to nonarchitects nor uses highly technical vocabulary. . . . Since he has excavated many of the sites himself and has worked extensively with the excavators of most of the others, the study is based on intimate familiarity with Herod and his world. . . . [Netzer's] deft touch in this book will ensure that his views are known more widely to an English-speaking audience, as he provides a near-infallible guide to understanding and appreciating Herod's buildings. . . . This is a book about which one can get quite excited; Netzer has accomplished much in his lengthy career focused on Herod. . . . There is still more to learn about this remarkable ruler and the products of his fertile imagination; Netzer is now the indispensable starting point."--Peter Richardson, Review of Biblical Literature

"In assessing Herod's construction projects, Netzer enjoys the advantage of having personally uncovered many of these sites, giving him an intimate familiarity with the subject. . . . Netzer deserves our congratulations for this gargantuan effort, bringing together all of these studies in a single volume in clear and instructive language."--Hillel Geva, Biblical Archaeology Review

"This erudite study of the buildings erected by Herod the Great will more than satisfy anyone who is interested in the great monuments--most of which are still visible today--attributed to this first-century monarch so important for the history of Judaism and early Christianity. Netzer . . . brings a lifetime of expertise and experience to this detailed study."--Donald Senior, CP, The Bible Today

"Remarkable finds [are] recounted and described in this book. . . . Netzer provides the reader with a thorough biography of his subject. . . . The story is all here, in profuse detail, with charts, photographs, maps, schemata, etc., an impressive record of archaeological work surrounding the King of the Jews."--James T. Dennison Jr., Kerux

"This magisterial work presents, in summary form, the results and conclusions of a truly remarkable career of excavation, research, and writing by a leading Herodian archaeologist and historian. . . . Netzer's archaeologically focused work fills a large void in the relevant literature. . . . Well drawn plans and photos of all significant features and floor plans as well as a good selection of regional and site maps complement the text throughout the book. . . . A superb supplementary text for graduate classes dealing with the archaeology and historical background of the New Testament. Likewise, professionals will welcome Netzer's interpretations and conclusions and utilize his book regularly as an authoritative reference. Netzer's well informed, balanced assessment of Herod coupled with his detailed descriptions of the impressive architectural monuments from Herod's reign provides ample amounts of material to equally inform and entertain both professional as well as armchair archaeologists."--Jeffrey P. Hudon, Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin

"Netzer concisely summarizes current knowledge on the major architectural achievements of Herod the Great within his royal realm. . . . Netzer is preeminently qualified to study the subject, having excavated at most of these Herodian sites. . . . Netzer's expertise and firsthand knowledge makes the book a goldmine of information within a concise and readable package. Carefully selected architectural top-plans, occasional isometric drawings, and a fine collection of photographic plates at the end all assist the reader. . . . Certainly this volume provides an extremely useful and up-to date summary of Herod's architectural corpus. It thus serves as an excellent introduction to Herodian architecture. Moreover, by gathering all this information in one place, Netzer himself is able to engage throughout in vital comparative analysis. One hopes that this will inspire others to continue in such synthesizing endeavors. I highly commend this book to students and scholars of Early Roman archaeology, of historical architecture, and of Second Temple Judaism."--David W. Chapman, Review of Biblical Literature

"[An] excellent book. . . . Most of [Netzer's] book is dedicated to describing in detail the great building projects attributed to Herod. . . . For believers, of course, Herod's crowning achievement was his (re)building of the Temple in Jerusalem. Netzer weaves together the written sources . . . with the results of excavations around the Temple Mount over the last forty years to offer a truly helpful and accurate picture of that largest worship center of the ancient Roman world. He even describes the remains of his lesser-known projects outside the king's realm. . . . Netzer's general discussion of Herod's architectural philosophy and program rounds out knowledge of these crucial subjects of interest to the secular as well as the sacred historian. . . . [Netzer's] contributions to Herod research have been unequalled in the field. This is essential reading for the serious traveler to Israel and for anyone who teaches the NT."--William C. Varner, Master's Seminary Journal

"Few scholars know as much about the archaeology and architecture of Herod the Great as the late Ehud Netzer. His book The Architecture of Herod, the Great Builder is a comprehensive survey of the archaeological and literary evidence related to all of the building projects usually attributed to Herod the Great. . . . [Netzer's] review of the Herodian architectural corpus is a valuable contribution to archaeological studies of the early Roman period in Judea. He brings together an architect's training and extensive, first-hand knowledge of most of the sites presented in the book (as he also excavated many of them). He is able to use these to his advantage when reconstructing complex architectural edifices from often-scant remains. The most outstanding example of this in the current book is his identification and discussion of the tomb of Herod at Herodium. . . . Undoubtedly, Netzer's book will become a primary resource for scholars and students of Roman Palestine. . . . This book is recommended to those with some preexisting understanding of Herod and his building program. It is an indispensable resource for scholars of Herodian architecture and history, a masterful, complete statement by the leading scholar in the field of Herodian architecture with unparalleled access to relevant materials."--Danielle Steen Fatkin, Near Eastern Archaeology